Early polls show GOP candidates lead Dems

Ask

I can’t imagine what the numbers look like vs. Cox, Snyder or Hoekstra.

… and ye shall receive.

The two leading Democratic candidates would lose to any of the three top Republican challengers if the election were held today, according to the poll by EPIC/MRA of Lansing released exclusively to the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and three outstate TV stations.

Between the two Democratic candidates, Dillon leads … unless people actually know the differences between the candidates.

House Speaker Andy Dillon leads Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero for the Democratic primary — 22% to 15% — although Bernero shows signs of closing the gap. When voters were given brief descriptions of the candidates, Bernero jumped ahead of Dillon, 29% to 24%.

Interesting. People tend to say they support candidates that they think are going to win, even if they don’t know any differences on issues. Dillon is better known, so when two names are put out there, people say the one they’ve heard of.

Pete Hoekstra leads among GOP candidates …

Among Republicans, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland has a lead of six percentage points over Attorney General Mike Cox.

Support for Cox and businessman Rick Snyder has leveled off since February.

"People are not jumping on the Rick Snyder bandwagon, even though he’s gained 12 points in name recognition" after a series of TV ads, Porn said.

… and presumably against everyone else.

Voters preferred Republicans Cox, Hoekstra or Snyder by significant margins when each was matched against either Dillon or Bernero.

Advertisements

‘None of the above’ leads Dem. governor race

According to a recent poll, Democrats are less than excited about the three horse Democratic governor race featuring Reps. Andy Dillon, Alma Wheeler-Smith and Lansing mayor Virg Bernero. [The Detroit News].

While ‘Undecided’ is far and away the leader of 53 percent, 17 percent of the people polled said ‘None Of The Above,’ while only 13 percent favored Dillon over Wheeler Smith (10 percent) and Bernero (8 percent).

A Rasmussen phone survey released Tuesday showed 53 percent of likely Democratic primary voters are undecided, while House Speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township gets 12 percent, state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Salem Township 10 percent and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero 8 percent.

Seventeen percent said they preferred someone other than the three announced candidates.

I can’t imagine what the numbers look like vs. Cox, Snyder or Hoekstra.

Kildee drops out of governor race

Citing a desire to promote unity among progressives being forced to choose between Virg Bernero and him, Dale Kildee has dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary race.

Associated Press has the story:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee announced Friday that he’s dropping out of Michigan’s Democratic governor’s race, setting the stage for a likely bruising primary fight between House Speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

"I certainly had hoped to be the candidate to unite the diverse interests that comprise the core of (the) Democratic Party," Kildee said in a statement. "It is now clear that the effort to unite progressive organizations and organized labor around a single candidate will not occur."

Bernero, son of a former General Motors Co. worker and a staunch advocate for autoworkers, has been saying he’ll get the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, a key constituency in the party. The union has not announced its pick.

Kildee, 51, will continue his work as president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress, a new national land use nonprofit organization that has offices in Flint and Washington.

The Democratic race has been in upheaval since early January, when Lt. Gov. John Cherry unexpectedly dropped out, leaving state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith as the only candidate. Bernero, Kildee and Dillon quickly geared up for a run.

With Smith far behind in campaign contributions, Kildee’s withdrawal leaves the contest to Dillon and Bernero. The victor will face the winner of a five-way race for the Republican nomination and possibly an independent, former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz.

Bernero is seen as a traditional Democrat with an ability to reach out to blue-collar voters, but he is virtually unknown outside Lansing and has a brash personality that occasionally has led to conflicts with some of his constituents.

Dillon has better name recognition around the state but isn’t trusted by some Democrats because of his inability as House speaker to save state spending important to Democrats and his sponsorship of a plan that would place all public employees’ health care into one system. He opposes abortion and embryonic stem cell research, two stances that could put him at odds with much of the Democratic base.

Kildee had hoped to be seen as more in tune with party values than Dillon and more steady than Bernero. But the unified backing he hoped to lock in didn’t happen.

In his statement, Kildee warned indirectly that it’s likely traditional Democratic voters would have split their votes in a four-way race among him, Bernero and Smith, allowing Dillon to grab the nomination.

"The will of the majority of Democratic primary voters would likely give way to the plurality of a minority of voters and our party’s nominee will go down to defeat in November," he said. "This is unacceptable to me."

Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney said last week that he had told his member unions that Kildee was a solid alternative to others in the race. Kildee spent 26 years as either a Genesee County commissioner or treasurer and oversaw many of the congressional campaigns of his uncle, U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, during the past three decades.

"Maybe he doesn’t light the world on fire, but he’s this sort of Steady Eddie guy … the kind of Democrat that Michigan voters traditionally like," Gaffney said. "If you’re really worried about Dillon’s unpredictability and you’re really worried about Virgil, this is your alternative."

That message apparently didn’t resonate with some Democratic activists.

Kildee is the fifth potential Democratic candidate to decide against running.

The others are U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, University of Michigan Regent Denise Ilitch, Major League Baseball executive Bob Bowman and Michigan State University Trustee George Perles.

State Sen. Hansen Clarke got in the race in January but then dropped out to concentrate on a congressional run.

Dillon says he’s in, immediately leads Dems race (for now)

At long last, one of the expected candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination has said he’s in: Andy Dillon.

The Michigan house speaker formally announced his candidacy on Sunday. He’s the fourth candidate to declare, along with Lansing mayor Virg Bernero, fellow state representative Alma Wheeler Smith (Ann Arbor), and former Genesee County treasurer Dale Kildee.  [The Detroit News].

Dillon said his experience in business will help him create jobs in the state.

An attorney and former executive, Dillon was president at Detroit Steel Co. (formerly McLouth Steel) and was a vice president with GE Capital. He stressed he planned to join his personal vision of creating jobs with his business experience and the state’s engineering and automotive manufacturing expertise.

He lamented an exodus of nearly a quarter-million young people from Michigan over the past decade and partisan politics in Lansing that impede identifying solutions to Michigan’s many problems. He stressed Michigan must reinvent itself.

"We have to make Michigan a place where young people want to stay or even move to in order to pursue their dreams," he said. "… We must refocus on growth industries like hybrids and battery technology."

While Dillon enters the race as the favorite, Time says he still has some convincing to do:

The first challenge for Dillon, a lanky 48-year-old former investment banker, will be to win the confidence of the Democratic masses. To succeed, he must soothe the concerns of unions, a historically crucial Democratic constituency he has angered with proposals to restructure state employees’ health insurance plans. He is Catholic and opposes abortion, which may be problematic for liberals in his party. He has reportedly raised at least $1 million in recent weeks. But raising the kind of money necessary for a credible campaign will be tricky in the current financial environment. He lives in a Detroit suburb, but must quickly build a presence beyond the state’s largest media market.  It’s somewhat early to pay serious attention to polls, and the cast of prospective Democratic and Republican candidates is still broad. Nevertheless, so far, the numbers are in Dillon’s favor: 17% of respondents in a recent poll said they would vote for Dillon in the Democratic primary, scheduled for August. However, 45% of those respondents said they were essentially undecided about who they will support.

Another Democratic Candidate Bites The Dust

And yet another Democratic gubernatorial candidate has opted against running this year. This time, it’s a guy who just entered the fray:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State Sen. Hansen Clarke of Detroit was the first Democrat to jump in after Lt. Gov. John Cherry withdrew from the Democratic race for governor. But now Clarke is dropping out as well.

Clarke said Friday in a status update on his Facebook page that he won’t be a candidate for governor this year.

A message was left with his campaign office seeking comment.

The complete list of declared gubernatorial candidates in both parties, per the AP:

REPUBLICANS IN THE RACE:

—Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard of Birmingham

—Attorney General Mike Cox of Livonia

—State Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo County’s Texas Township

—U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland

—Venture capitalist Rick Snyder of Ann Arbor

___

DEMOCRATS IN THE RACE:

State Sen. Hansen Clarke of Detroit

—State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Washtenaw County’s Salem Township

The lack of candidates is probably a good thing for the higher profile prospective candidates as they explore whether they can actually raise the money needed to run their options. This AP article discusses these undeclared Democratic candidates.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The surprising withdrawal of Lt. Gov. John Cherry from the Michigan governor’s race presented a golden opportunity to other Democrats who thought they’d have to wait years to run.

But they don’t have much time to decide if they’re in or out.

Some of the five Republicans in the race are poised to begin running ads in February, giving them the chance to make the first favorable impression on voters. And whichever of the uncommitted Democrats jumps into race first could grab the biggest share of donations and endorsements, leaving latecomers with crumbs.

"You can buy a little bit more time as long as everybody else is still up in the air on this," political strategist Tom Shields of Marketing Resources Group said Thursday. "But when those campaign committees start forming, and people start raising money and getting commitments, that’s when you need to either fish or cut bait."

U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak hears the clock ticking. Although he has a safe congressional seat and powerful committee assignments, the Democrat from Menominee is considering running for governor.

"This isn’t something that presents itself very often," Stupak told The Associated Press. "You have to take a look at it."

He’s heading to Detroit on Friday to meet with party activists and get a better feel for whether he wants to run. At the same time, he is deeply involved in negotiations over the federal health care overhaul bill and language restricting how abortions are covered by insurance.

A run for governor "is appealing, but from a practical point of view, can you do it with this compressed time line we have? Health care compresses it even more," Stupak said. He noted that GOP gubernatorial candidate and fellow congressman Pete Hoekstra faces some of the same constraints, "but he’s at least been out there another year."

Stupak knows his opposition to abortion could prove a hurdle to getting the nomination. The former state trooper also is a gun-rights advocate. But he has spoken with former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, an abortion opponent who ran in the 2002 Democratic governor’s race, and said he’s encouraged so far.

Among the others eyeing the race, University of Michigan Regent Denise Ilitch spent Wednesday evening introducing herself at a Democratic mixer in Grand Rapids after discussing a possible run with White House and Democratic Governors Association officials in Washington the night before.

Although she won a statewide race in 2008 as regent, the lawyer from Bingham Farms isn’t well-known in Democratic circles, despite her family owning sports teams, casinos and the Little Caesar’s pizza chain. She’s working to change that, but could be hampered by a pattern of donating to Republicans as well as Democrats.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reports Ilitch gave $2,000 to former President George W. Bush in 2003, the same year she gave $1,000 to Republican U.S. Rep. Candice Miller. Former President George H.W. Bush got $1,000 in 1992 from Ilitch, who gave the Michigan Republican State Committee $1,000 in 2000.

Ilitch also donated $3,300 to 2008 Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton and at least $7,500 over the years to Democrats such as Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Carl Levin and the late Ted Kennedy. The Michigan Democratic State Central Committee received $3,000 between 2005 and 2009.

She did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday to her law office.

Other Democrats considering a run are also on record as donating to Republicans. House Speaker Andy Dillon, who has formed an exploratory committee, gave $1,000 to the Michigan Republican State Committee in 1994, records show.

"We’re going to chalk it up to a youthful indiscretion," Dillon spokesman Dan Mahoney said Thursday.

State Sen. Hansen Clarke of Detroit was the first Democrat to jump in after Cherry dropped out, and Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith has been in the race since last summer. Others looking at getting in are Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee and Michigan State University Trustee George Perles.

One other potential candidate is Robert Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball’s Internet operations and state treasurer in the 1980s under then-Gov. James Blanchard. Okemos public relations consultant Bob Kolt said Blanchard and others are talking to Bowman about getting into the race.

Bowman, who has a summer home in Harbor Springs and works in New York City, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

West Michigan legal news links

Ottawa County Prosecutor Kent Engle has announced his candidacy for retiring circuit judge Calvin Bosman’s seat.

RhemDcolorUPDATE: David A. Rhem, pictured left, a partner at Varnum LLP, has also announced his candidacy for Bosman’s seat. The seat will be filled during the November 2010 election.

 

 

 

Muskegon County Drain Commissioner Jeffrey Hepler has been charged with making a false police report. Hepler allegedly reported to police that his motorcycle was stolen after crashing it last August.

Attorney General Mike Cox said that he’ll go to court to force the closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in order to protect Lake Michigan from Asian carp.

Two Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University Michigan State University College of Law professors have started a project to legalize e-marriages (in which couples are allowed to marry over the internet under the laws of whatever jurisdiction they choose).